THE BATTLE to scrap the public sector pay cap is only just beginning.
That is the message from today’s Scrap The Cap rally, which was held in Guildhall Square by Portsmouth Trades Council.
Leaders of major unions, the Royal College of Nursing and Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan joined public sector workers and members of the general public, as they protested up and down Commercial Road, calling for the government to scrap the one per cent pay cap.
The pay cap, which was introduced in 2010, has frozen public sector pay rises for the past seven years – however, by having it frozen it below the rate of inflation, public sector workers have seen their real wages decrease each year.
The TUC claims that since the pay cap was introduced, firefighters have become £2,900 a year worse off, while paramedics have lost out on £3,800.
MP Stephen Morgan said: ‘Its really important that we stand united against the government to give public sector workers the pay rise they so desperately need.
‘It is really good to see people from across the whole community standing together to say enough is enough – our public sector workers work day in, day out to improve our lives and it’s time they’re given a pay rise.’
Mr Morgan was the only MP from the region present at the rally – though he was joined by Labour’s 2017 election candidates for Portsmouth North and Gosport, Rumal Khan and Alan Durrant.
Mr Morgan added: ‘I’ve been talking to nurses, teachers and people in the armed forces and our police service because they deserve a pay rise – their hard work needs to be recognised.’
President of RMT Union Sean Hoyle, national executive of the NUT Amanda Martin and RCN Portsmouth chair Liz Jeremiah also spoke at the rally.
Speaking to the crowd, Ms Jeremiah said: ‘Nurses pay has been frozen for too long and has led to a 14 per cent drop in our pay packets since 2010.
‘Lifting the cap will help retain staff, allowing them to provide a better service and ultimately improve patient care.
‘It is not only right to pay us a decent wage, it is in the interests of the public and the taxpayer.’